Ah...Chris...the instigator of turmoil from a young age. Mom could tell you stories how I would innocently be playing by myself, unaware of the sneak attack about to take place. The capture of my beloved 'bibi' aka: blanket. And that's when it all started.
I started to retaliate. I was the older, taller, stronger, smarter one (hey, when there's 2 years between you, that's 2 more years of smarts) . Pinning him to the ground and tickling until he almost (ok, so maybe he did) wet his pants and lose his breath from laughing so hard. That lasted until I was about 13...and then I got thrown across the room.
So then I lost the brawn...what else did I have? Eating utensils! After swim practice one summer, one our chores to cross off the list was the unload the dishwasher. Somehow it turned into a gladiator match and someone got a fork stuck in their arm...not me! To this day he hasn't let me live it down.
When Chris entered into high school he joined the swim team; I had been on for 3 years. As the 'big' sister with the driver's license it was my 'sisterly' duty to take him to swim practice. Do you remember those awkward, hormonal teenage years?? Yeah...I try to forget them... I would absolutely LOSE IT when Chris said he couldn't find his goggles. I mean, really...a pair of goggles...I had the same pair for all 5 years I was on the swim team. How hard is it to keep up with them?! He couldn't find his goggles...which meant we could be late for practice. I. Hate. Being. Late. Period. Hormones?! So for my Senior Will and Testament before I graduated, I gave him my goggles. I figured there must be some sort of luck with them, I had them for 5 years and they were never 'lost.'
After all the years of torture and being known as "Amanda's little brother" I never really knew the feelings my brother had for me. Brotherly love I guess you could call it. When I graduated from UK he wrote a memoir for me.
I was going to buy you a car, I was going to buy you a silver ring with three diamonds cut into it, I was going to buy some really expensive clothes, and I was going to buy you an apartment. You know I wanted to buy the most expensive things anyone could afford.
As you know, I was a freshman this year, and I am growing short on funds. So I decided to make you something that you could remember the good times by, something that you could remember the things we did together.
You might not remember some of these things, but I remember them because they showed me what a big sister is for. You have taught me so much through the years. You showed me how to be romantic, you showed me how to survive my freshman year in high school, and you showed me how to survive a broken heart. You taught me how to be myself around people, and to not give into what people want me to be.
You never had to help through my tough times, but you did. You showed me that I am worth something and that I have things to live for.
You are one of a kind sister that I wouldn't trade for anything else. You couldn't have been better to me through the years. We had our fights, our disappointments, our triumphs, and our stabbing of forks in the kitchen after Waterford swim practices. I wouldn't trade our past for anything. You have been a teacher for me, a great teacher. I thank you for everything you said and did for me. I love you and I am very proud of you.
(enter: tears streaming down the face)
note-he was the first person to make me cry on my wedding day...more sentimental words scrawled in a card
And in the book he wrote a few poems and some other sentimental messages.
Feelings I never knew he had.
Memories I thought were faded, tattered at the edges, and accumulating dust.
From him I learned to never underestimate the words you speak and the actions you carry out.
I am so proud of him. His talents have been hidden for years. The guitar...he plays from sound, not reading music. The songs he writes tug at your heart. They pull hard because the lyrics take you back to your dark past and into today's light. They are inspiring, refreshing, and relational.
He has the biggest heart I've seen. He's more aware of the people in need...in need of someone to invest in them emotionally. He's a listener, a lover, and a leader. So many traits I don't have, but wish I did. You can't just 'learn' how to be empathetic, it is rooted and woven into your being.
And so here he is...my brother...